Beach erosion hits Kid Rock, Babe Rizzuto’s oceanfront Jupiter homes

Weekend waves washed sand out from underneath five multimillion-dollar houses

Beach Erosion Hits Kid Rock, Babe Rizzuto’s Jupiter Homes
Conair heiress Babe Rizzuto; 11, 12 and 13 14 Ocean Drive in Jupiter Inlet Colony; Kid Rock (Getty, Google Maps)

Kid Rock and Conair heiress Babe Rizzuto are among homeowners who lost land to the sea this past weekend in Jupiter Inlet Colony. 

Pumping surf washed the sand out from underneath four oceanfront homes, tearing out fencing, trees and pipes from the earth. Video footage captured by local photographers reveals the empty shell of the pool at 12 Ocean Drive, standing atop its exposed concrete pillars. Town officials confirmed they are acting fast to stabilize the properties and replenish the beach with sand. They are also considering a revetment program, which would bolster the shoreline with rocks and boulders, to mitigate future erosion. 

Broker Andrew Russo of the Russo Group at Illustrated Properties grew up in Jupiter Inlet Colony and was a resident there for many years. He’s seen the beach get washed out before, but never anything like this, he said.

“I could not believe how much of the beach was gone,” he said. 

Russo currently has the listing for 14 Ocean Drive, one of the affected homes, for $22.5 million. Rizzuto, daughter of late billionaire founder of Conair, Lee Rizzuto, bought the house for $6.3 million in 2015, records show. She renovated the 5,900-square-foot house and its oceanfront pool in 2016, according to property records. She bought an oceanfront compound in Jupiter Island for $35 million in 2022, and listed the Jupiter Inlet Colony house for $24.5 million in November. 

Rizzuto’s house and pool were not damaged, but part of the backyard, some fence and palm trees were washed away, Russo said. He said his job just got harder. 

“It doesn’t help the sales effort, that’s for sure,” Russo said. But, “oceanfront property is still highly desirable.” 

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Other homeowners affected include Kid Rock, whose legal name is Robert J. Ritchie. He bought his oceanfront home at 11 Ocean Drive for $3.2 million in 2012, records show. His stairway to the beach and part of his back deck washed away with the erosion, according to a video reviewed by The Real Deal

Also affected are Merrill Lynch wealth advisers Greg and Kellie O’Hare, who bought the house at 13 Ocean Drive for $945,000 in 1997, records show. The O’Hares lost part of their backyard, fence and beach access.

Facing the most severe damage are Ron and Gail Fink, who were about to finish construction of their home at 12 Ocean Drive. The couple bought the vacant oceanfront half-acre for $4.9 million in 2020, and filed a notice of commencement to build a new single-family home in 2021, records show. The waves wiped away the ground below almost the entirety of the Fink’s backyard, stripping their stairway to the beach and leaving the naked shell of the pool. 

Milla Russo, also an agent with the Russo Group at Illustrated Properties, represented the couple in their 2020 purchase.

“[The town is] trying to act quickly,” she said of efforts to shore up the properties. “Unfortunately with the way things are, you have to get permits.”

While damage this severe may be a first for Jupiter Inlet Colony, the reality of climate change means increasing coastal erosion. More frequent and stronger storms, coupled with rising sea levels are washing away more beaches and cliffs across the country, including in Dana Point, California, and Fire Island, New York. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than $1 trillion of property is located within 700 feet of the coastline, raising questions of adaptation and mitigation actions like Jupiter Inlet Colony’s plans for revetment. 

Dr. Gary Griggs, an expert on coastal erosion at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said one of the first steps for municipalities responding to this crisis is acknowledging which properties, whether public or private, are most vulnerable.

“Nobody wants to say that. Nobody wants to admit it because they don’t want to lower their property values,” he said. 

Beach nourishment programs, which involve restocking beaches with sand, is a costly, short-term solution, as is building seawalls and revetments, according to Griggs. In some cases, retreating from the coastline is the best answer. 

“There’s absolutely nothing we can do in the long run to hold back the Atlantic Ocean,” he said. But Griggs is hopeful that cities and counties are beginning to accept that denial is no longer a workable plan, and are starting to take action. 

Broker Russo said that now that adaptation plans are in the works in Jupiter Inlet Colony: “A year from now, this is going to be a blessing in disguise.”